Tabula Rasa: The Green vs. The Greek // Berlin
Since early this year, two lady amateur boxers and hip-hop fans, both named Julia, sharpen their knives every 2 months and turn a kitchen in Berlin into a battlefield. “The Green vs. The Greek” is the name of their battle, a question of life or death for some, for others just a matter of taste. They fight with unequal weapons – one for example with carrots and tofu, the other with beef or fish – to prepare a 3-course dinner for up to 15 people, a mixed group of vegetarians and meat eaters gathered around one communal table. These 15 guests are also the jury. Each order counts as a vote for either The Green or The Greek, that’s the rule of the game. And the winner is….? That still remains to be seen, after 4 exciting rounds the scores are more or less even. But no matter which side you are on, once the bottle of Ouzo gets circulated after dinner all differences will be washed away. Could be the party goes until 4:00 in the morning. It wouldn’t be the first time.
What can be said about the hosts, Julia & Julia? Both are in their very early 30s and have developed a longterm relationship with pots and pans: “Green” Julia grew up in Bavaria and for a while had the chance to look over the shoulder of a whole food restaurant chef. “Greek” Julia who is in fact half-Greek used to help out in her parents’ take-away restaurant after school. 2 years ago, they met as colleagues working for the same marketing agency and found out they have some common interests: Besides boxing and music they share a passion for good food, cooking and entertaining guests – just not the definition for what is good food.
This is how Berlin’s first secret cookery duel was born. Whilst the initial battle took place in one Julia’s private apartment, they have found a larger location in the meantime: Friends running an online agency in the Prenzlauer Berg area generously offered to use their stylish office from time to time. It has a spacious kitchen, enough room for a long dinner table and provides access to a nice backyard, allowing to move the table out in summer. The August dinner was hosted there, a BBQ bash with for example spicy seitan kebab competing against chicken seasoned with lemon and oregano. Quite a tough decision for meat eaters like me who combine the best from both Worlds. And probably an easy one for vegetarians who eventually don’t have to feel guilty for causing extra work to the host. It should also be mentioned that any animal products they use are unconditionally and 100% from organic sources. The same goes for most of the other ingredients, depending on availability.
More supporters have come on board since, last but not least friends who are helping out with the service. Recently, a large package with tableware got delivered. Diners are now eating from plates sponsored by the porcelain manufacturer Villeroy & Boch. Such support is highly welcome because margins aren’t huge and “The Green vs. The Greek” has made a commitment to always donate minimum 1/3 of its profit to charity – if there is profit. Because they don’t set a fixed price for the menu, just a guideline price, and leave it down to the guests to pay whatever they consider fair and appropriate. Seems their culinary arts are well appreciated: Up until now, Julia & Julia have been able to write a cheque in favour of a social organization after each of their dinners.
And the battle goes on, round 5 is due for December. The exact date will be announced on Facebook a couple of weeks in advance, so best join the open group NOW if you don’t want to risk missing the announcement – and the chance to taste a homemade Xmas veggie roast.